OPINION: The roads in Boone suck, here’s what to do

El Shedrick, Opinion Writer

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Anyone that has spent time driving around Boone knows the roads are not great. To put it simply, they suck. Boone’s roads are unsafe, not kept up with and filled with potholes. Unfortunately, early spring is when potholes normally begin to become an issue. Residents of Boone drive past the same areas each day, watching the roads become more damaged and the potholes growing bigger. In addition to the condition of the roads in Boone, many roads and neighborhoods lack clear stop signs, which is another danger drivers face. 

There are many reasons that contribute to the road conditions. Many of the roads on campus are in decent condition, with the roads off-campus having significant issues. This could be an issue of funding, since on-campus streets get university funding, and public roads do not.

In addition to this, road conditions are an issue of overpopulation. It is no shock that overpopulation is an issue in Boone. With the Sleep Inn housing future students, it is clear that Boone’s population is getting too large for its infrastructure. This applies the same way to the roads. More people means more cars driving on these roads, meaning the roads are being damaged at a more rapid rate than they can handle. 

Because of the mountain’s terrain, it is not an easy feat to get resources to Boone to fix road issues. The remote location, coupled with Boone’s overpopulation is contributing to road damage happening at a faster rate than repairs are possible. This is what is to blame for the road conditions. 

The Town of Boone is clearly doing little to address the safety concerns around town, so what can be done? Consider this a guide to navigating the unsafe conditions in Boone. Firstly, if a pothole is seen, it should be reported. Motorists should go to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s website under the online pothole reporting system and describe exactly where the pothole is located. Reports from the website go directly to the county maintenance office that handle the request. This is going to give the potholes in Boone the best chance of being fixed. 

Now, here is exactly what to do when encountering a pothole, in order to maximize safety and minimize car damage: 

“Slow down, do not slam on the brake, ease off the gas, take it as slowly as possible,” said spokeswoman Jane Tidwell from AAA. “Do not turn that wheel or swerve to avoid it, that likely results in losing control of your vehicle and causing more damage. And even worse, perhaps a crash.” 

In addition to this, drivers should be careful driving through puddles as they may end up containing a pothole.
What can be done if a pothole does cause car damage? Individuals who suffer injury or car damage due to a pothole can file a Property Damage Claim, through NCDOT. The claim will determine whether or not NCDOT knew about the pothole and made an effort to repair it within a reasonable length of time. Based on this information, drivers could be reimbursed. 

Aside from pothole problems, there are plenty of other issues with signage in Boone. For issues regarding missing signage, or to put in requests for something like a stop sign, drivers should fill out this form. 

By taking all of these steps to address the road issues in Boone, there is a significantly greater chance that some of these issues may be resolved by the Town of Boone or NCDOT. This cannot be a silent issue, otherwise no changes will be made.